Winter League Recap: Polanco Goes Deep in Season Opener

Yesterday, Jake Oswalt posted an article about the tools displayed by Gregory Polanco. Hours later, on Opening Night in the Dominican Winter League, Polanco put on a show with those tools. In his team’s 4-1 victory, he hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, added a single and a walk, plus threw out two runners at home plate. The home run had a couple Pirates from this season involved. It was given up by Atahualpa Severino, who spent most of this season with Indianapolis. The runners that were on base already, were put on by Jose Contreras, who spent half of his season playing at four different levels in the Pirates organization.

Gregory Polanco
Polanco was the star on Opening Day in the Dominican

On Friday, we listed the Pirates players on the early rosters released for the Dominican. Two other names were added besides Atahualpa Severino. The Gigantes del Cibao also have catcher Carlos Paulino and outfielder Oscar Tejeda.

Tejeda went 1-for-4, with a double and two RBI’s.

Matt Hague also had a big night at the plate in his season opener. He went 2-for-3 with a single, walk and home run, providing both RBI’s in his team’s 3-2 loss. The Toros del Este site posted the entire game online here. If you watch from the 1 hour and 10 minute mark, you can see Hague getting a second life after the first baseman misplayed a foul pop up. On the next pitch, he drives one well over the left field fence.

Usually, the lead story from Winter ball would have been the performance in the Venezuelan League from David Bromberg on Friday night. He threw six shutout innings, giving up only a single and he hit a batter. Bromberg picked up two strikeouts. In his first start, he ran into a little trouble, getting knocked out in the fifth with three runs allowed on six hits and two walks.

Jose Osuna got his first start of the season and did well. He went 1-for-3, hitting a double and drawing two walks. He came into the contest tonight with three games played, though he batted just once before today.

Jhonathan Ramos pitched to one batter in his appearance on Friday, striking out Danny Dorn. The lefty hitting Dorn belted 25 homers in AAA this year, but the southpaw made quick work of him to end a 5th inning rally.

Jhondaniel Medina ran into some trouble in his outing tonight, though he still hasn’t allowed a run in four outings. He faced three batters tonight, allowing a hit, a walk and he threw a wild pitch. He struck out the other batter, giving him four strikeouts in two innings of work.

In Mexico, Ali Solis hit a solo homer and nearly caught a no-hitter. Three Culiacan pitchers recorded 22 outs before giving up a single with one out in the eighth. The homer from Solis was just his second hit of the season. He is 2-for-14 at the plate.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Damn, this is exciting! I’m ready for Spring Training already- so many guys in the pipeline I’m anxious to see.

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